“My patients in their forties frequently say, ‘My hair just isn’t the same.’ And they’re right,” says Mirmirani. The changes—wrought by declining estrogen—are subtle, but they’re there. “Both diameter and density decrease in your forties,” says Mirmirani. So if you’ve always had more hair than you can manage, this gradual change may feel like an improvement. “You hear some women saying that suddenly their hair behaves better,” says Mirmirani. But those who started with less of a mane may be less thrilled, says Liz Cunnane-Phillips, a trichologist (that’s a certified hair scientist) at the Philip KingsleyTrichological Centre in New York: “I hear clients saying, ‘My part is a little wider. My ponytail seems less full.’ ”
Whatever style you wear, thinner hair tends to look better worn in longer layers,which add volume. And if you’ve never colored your hair, you may consider starting. “Color coats and bulks up your strands,” says Blandi.
In this decade, hair may also become noticeably drier as scalp sebaceous glands produce less oil. Women who have battled limp, oily hair may find themselves enjoyinga new era of manageability. “Suddenly you’re not getting the greasies. Your hair is a bit coarser and holds a style better,” says Trudy Hunt, creative director of Joseph’s Salon and Spa in Louisville, Kentucky. “So if you were reliant on hairspray, you may be able to stop. And instead of styling with gels, you can use lighter foams.” However, if your hair was already dry, it’s probably time to switch stylers. “Chances are, you’ll need to upgrade to creamier styling products like creams and waxes,” says Hunt.
Changes in your hair may be accompanied by more obvious changes in skin and figure.“Fine lines start appearing,” says Callender. “And in your mid- forties,as your metabolism slows, you may also notice extra weight around your middle.” If that’s happening, you can use your cut to elongate your frame and create softness around the face. “A little length is more flattering,” says Hershberger. “A severe cut can become harder to pull off unless you add some layers, which act like soft-focus lighting, drawing less attention to facial lines while simultaneously creating the effect of extra body.” Modified shags and styles with soft waves are good options. A little asymmetry can be your friend (e.g., switch from a center part to one that’s on the side). And bangs can grow a bit longer and get swept over to the side.
Another way to balance a figure that may be widening:Grow your hair longer. A woman who once had an over-the-ear cut might consider a short bob, and a woman with a short bob may graduate to a shoulder-skimming one. “Make sure you get out of the stylist’s chair and stand up in front of the mirror while you talk with your stylist about your cut,” says Hunt. “If your weight isshifting, your cut should be, too.”